WSBTV is reporting that a federal judge has awarded an Atlanta man $1.18 million as a result of his discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County. In 2012, a jury awarded Doug Carl, a former employee of the Fulton County Department of Human Services (“DHS”), $300,000 for back pay that he would have received had the county not discriminated against him. The judge’s additional award covers issues such as the loss of the Carl’s position, the loss of his pension, and five years of future pay, since he would have been eligible for retirement at that time. Whether the county will be responsible for Carl’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees remains an outstanding issue. This is an important case for your Atlanta employment attorneys, as it shows just how costly an employment discrimination lawsuit can be for parties on both sides of the dispute.
Although many things have changed in American society over the past 15 years, views on gender inequality in the workplace haven’t seemed to change too significantly. According to moneytalksnews.com, a poll of 1,000 conducted this April by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that little had changed since a similar poll was conducted over 15 years ago in 1997. The poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of women still believe that they are discriminated against at work on the basis of their gender. However, your Atlanta employment lawyer notes that there were signs of optimism that were not present in the previous poll in terms of the ability of a woman to effectively balance her work and home life.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination occurs when an employee or an applicant for employment is treated less favorably due to his or her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is the federal law that governs age discrimination in the United States. However, the Atlanta employment attorneys at John L. Mays, Attorney at Law warn that the ADEA protects only those individuals who are age 40 or older from employment discrimination. As many workers have experienced, age discrimination can happen at any level and any age.
On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, John L. Mays, Attorney at Law scored a decisive victory for Seven Oaks Academy of Lilburn, Georgia, successfully defending the small daycare against a former employee’s appeal of the District Court’s Order dismissing her lawsuit. The plaintiff’s claims, which grew out of allegations of religious discrimination, included religious harassment, hostile work environment, civil conspiracy, and negligent hiring and retention, and sought the statutory maximums in compensatory and punitive damages.
When employees initiate lawsuits after separating from employment, they must typically meet certain burdens if they seek money damages, including a demonstration that they mitigated, or limited, their damages by pursuing a diligent job search. While this “duty to mitigate” damages is used routinely to limit back pay awards in discrimination cases, the defense seems to have a slightly different character in FLSA cases. In fact, courts appear to be divided as to what it actually means in FLSA litigation (and whether it applies at all). Some FLSA claims arise in cases of retaliatory termination for engaging in protected activities like demanding unpaid wages. This is analogous to both discriminatory discharge and retaliation for engaging in activities protected by discrimination laws. However, FLSA cases also present when employees have lost earnings but remain employed, and this scenario complicates the arguments for a reduction of back pay awards in FLSA suits under the theory of the plaintiff’s duty to mitigate.
Discrimination, wrongful termination, hostile work environment, retaliation. These are words that I often hear during an initial client interview. While these concepts are relevant to employment law matters, they are often misunderstood by employees and employers alike.